Fire destroys family cottage

June 16, 2014
PM Fire Lt. Scott Kelsey sprays water onto the fire. Photo by Patrick Shinn.

PM Fire Lt. Scott Kelsey sprays water onto the fire. Photo by Patrick Shinn.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — A cottage that had been in a family for generations was destroyed by fire early Monday morning. Patrick Shinn said he and his wife, Carleen, were woken by a noise just after midnight. He said something had been getting into their trash lately, so he suspected that is what is was. “Then, I went outside and recognized the sound of breaking glass,” he said. The cottage directly north of them was on fire.

The Shinns live at 1865 S. Lakeshore Drive. The cottage destroyed belongs to Fred and Beth Dilley of Grand Rapids.

“Beth’s uncle, George, was the original owner,” Patrick Shinn said. “He was friends with Frank Lloyd Wright and the family has blueprints Wright drew of the cottage.” Shinn said he didn’t think the blueprints were actually in the cottage, though.

“They were just here this weekend,” he said. “This is just a sad situation.”

Pere Marquette Township Fire Chief Larry Gaylord said the cause of the fire was unknown but he did not suspect foul play.

“When I came outside, the fire was concentrated in the northeast part of the house, which is the living room,” Shinn said.

Pere Marquette and Riverton fire departments were the first departments dispatched. The first truck on scene reported the house fully engulfed in flames. Ludington and Hamlin fire departments were also called to assist. Deputies from Mason County Sheriff’s Office were also on scene.

Gaylord said the house appeared to be 25 feet by 38 feet in an L-shape. Shinn said it had been added on to several times over the years. He said he believes it was at least 60 years old. “We moved into our house over 30 years ago. When we were building it we stayed in the cottage,” Shinn said.

The Shinns and deputies were able to make contact with the Dilleys.

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